With more than 3,200 specially trained employees and hundreds of trucks that can be used to remove snow and ice across North Carolina, the N.C. Department of Transportation works diligently to prepare for winter weather and the hazards that come with it.
Maintenance crews across the state begin preparing for winter storms as early as fall by cleaning, repairing and testing equipment, reviewing snow removal routes and stocking up on necessary supplies, such as salt and sand.
NCDOT can store up to 170,000 tons of salt and sand and 1.52 million gallons of brine at its storage facilities across North Carolina.
The department also owns and maintains a wide array of equipment to handle North Carolina winters. As of 2019, this includes:
- 2,250 dump trucks fitted with plows and salt/sand spreaders (attached when snow or ice is in the forecast)
- 503 front-end loaders and backhoes
- 324 motor graders
Pick-up trucks are also outfitted with snowplows to clear less-traveled roads when conditions merit. In addition, NCDOT works with local companies to use contract trucks and employees to supplement crews and equipment as needed.
NCDOT budgeted $42.5 million for storm preparation and snow and ice removal across the state. Should NCDOT exceed that amount, additional funds are taken from emergency reserves.
Even if the budgeted amount is exceeded, NCDOT does not scale back its response, nor does it have fewer crews out clearing the roads. Crews continue to clear roads as quickly and efficiently as possible, whether it's the first storm of the winter weather season or the last.